Can I be fired if I missed work due to a medical condition?

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Can I be fired if I missed work due to a medical condition?

I was fired via text message because I called in due to the fact that I was at the hospital with asthma the night before. Everyone is telling me to sue but I am curious if I have a case on these terms. Also, I never received my final paycheck, which I was also told that I would receive within 48 hours of termination. What do I do?

Asked on June 11, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a company *may* fire someone who misses work, if that person did not use some accrued leave (e.g. sick time) for the absence; there is no general right to miss work. That said, if you and your company both met the criteria for coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it may be that you had the right to take unpaid leave--though even in that case, you generally have to ask for the leave first. (Also, as noted, there are eligibilty criteria; for example, the company at which you worked must have had at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius). Therefore, while you *might* have some recourse, there is very good chance you do not, and your firinng was proper, even if most would consider it unfair.

As to your final paycheck--most states specific when it must be paid, and make it sooner, rather than later. Unfortunately, MS does not; therefore, the employer can certain take some time about paying it.


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